On June 30, German lawmakers voted by a wide margin ( 393-226, with four abstentions ) to legalize same-sex marriage.
The bill gives gay and lesbian couples in Germany the same rights as heterosexual couples, and will let same-sex couples to marry and jointly adopt children.
Speaking after the vote, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had voted no on the issue. However, she added that it had been important to put it to a vote of conscience.
"I hope that the vote today shows not only the mutual respect for different opinions but that this also leads to more peace and social cohesion as well," she said.
The German Foreign Office tweeted "congratulations to all gay couples who have been waiting to get married! #Lovewins."
Germany's upper house is expected to pass the measure next week. If the bill is signed into law, Germany will join the almost two dozen countries that have legalized same-sex marriage.